Welcome readers to a quick TRIP into my life. My name is Erin Suter and I’m a Junior at Central Bucks High School East. While I have a huge passion for science and learning new things, building connections and making discoveries to benefit society is my main reason for joining the TRIP Initiative. I was so excited to find out I was accepted into the program, and I’m thrilled to continue in the following weeks. My short-term goals for the future are to attend college and pursue a STEM major. I hope the TRIP Initiative can give me more insight into what specifically I want to do.
This Saturday, 2/5/2022, was my first day in the lab. I have never felt more like a scientist. Holding the micropipette in my hand for the first time and measuring amounts of St. John’s Wort and sucrose was an experience I will never forget. My fellow TRIP peers were so kind and motivated. It was cool to see how unique and diverse everyone was. I think it is so essential to hear different perspectives from so many different backgrounds especially when doing research projects like these. I can’t wait to start my research and discover more about the world we live in and myself. I’m excited to take on the TRIP journey and hopefully discover something amazing.
I have interests that clearly fall all over the place, so it is difficult to decide what I want to do in the future. Through TRIP, I hope to foster the core skills required for each of these activities and apply them to create a really interesting experiment with flies! This experience will be essential to whatever field I go into, whether it be computer science or biochemistry. That said, our first day went really well and I know the TRIP will continue to be great!
I am so excited to learn about the research process and to make new friends at TRIP!
Hello readers. I'm Jenan Hazazi, a Junior at William Tennent Highschool.
Ever since I was on all fours, I have been quite fascinated by the world surrounding me and all that it has to offer. I've always been quite open to trying new things and essentially becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. I’m always seeking to find ways to grow as an individual and meet new people. In doing so, I tend to engage in many clubs that not only feed my curiosity, but also help others, such as Robotics, MSA, National Science Honor Society, and Volunteering clubs including Key Club. I also enjoy traveling very much as I've been to about 12 different countries and dozens of new cities. I've lived in Saudi Arabia for about three years and spent the rest of my childhood in New Jersey. I moved to Pennsylvania at the beginning of 2021 and I love it here. Moving around and meeting new people is arguably why I have become such a language enthusiast with hopes of becoming a polyglot one day. I am currently fluent in two languages, English and Arabic, and learning my third, Spanish.
It had been my first day yesterday and to say I was so beyond excited is an understatement. I met some amazing people on just my first day as well as started to learn how to use a micropipette and set up an experiment by setting up the vials of food for the flies that I will use next time we join. I know I have much to learn, and alongside these brilliant fellow peers of mine, and especially under the wings of Dr. Leystra and Dr. Purdy, I can already tell this is the start of an amazing TRIP in my life!
Hello everyone! My name is Eri, and I’m a Junior at the Baldwin School. I was born in Tokyo, Japan. I spent most of my childhood in different parts of California, but this year is my first time in the East coast. I’m extremely excited to be part of an amazing program like TRIP!
I love all things music, but I especially love to play the clarinet. I’m a part of my school band program, and I also play for the Philadelphia Sinfonia. It’s an awesome group of teenagers that have a passion for music. We just had a concert in January. My favorite composer is Tchaikovsky, not only because his pieces are challenging, but because the history behind the composer and each symphony is fascinating to me. Music is also the reason why I’m curious about the auditory system. (It’s also what I’m hoping to base off my research at TRIP!)
One of my other passions is teaching. I don’t necessarily want to be an educator, but I think that it’s the best way for me to give back to my community right now. Last year, I created an organization to tutor Japanese to American students. I think that there are fewer resources to learn Japanese than other languages like Spanish or Chinese, so I think that it’s important for Japanese speakers like me to encourage others to learn this awesome language.
Yesterday, I met an amazing group of talented and friendly people. I’m really excited to work with all of my peers and mentors over the next couple of months. After we introduced ourselves and had a mini lesson on laboratory safety and pipettes, we started getting our hands on making fly food! For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be testing how Vitamin E (drug) can help with counteracting the effects of detergent (stressor).
Hi! My name is Sanjana Balaji and I am a sophomore at Garnet Valley High School. While we have only had one week in the TRIP lab, I have gotten to become friends with my TRIP family and I am eagerly looking forward to the Saturday’s I get to spend with them! Science has been a huge passion of mine ever since I participated in a science fair in 1st grade with my alka-seltzer lava lamp. My 6 year old self found the reasoning behind why bubbles formed fascinating. I fell in love with the creation and explanation of aspects from the world around us. My passion only evolved and 9 years later, here I am!
In my time outside of school, I immerse myself in a lot of musical and creative outlets. I play the piano and have been for about 11 years. Teaching is also a huge passion of mine and I started teaching piano to kids in my neighborhood about a year ago. I am a Bharatanatyam (a type of Indian classical dance form) dancer and a carnatic music singer. I’ve been a dancer since I was 4 and my connection towards dance has grown significantly in the past few years. I find that I cannot go a day without dancing and I’ve come to love and appreciate the connection with my culture it provides.
My desire to learn more about fields of science was the driving force behind my application for TRIP. In addition to hands-on lab experience and the opportunity to conduct my own research, I wanted the guidance of amazing mentors in order to figure out if science is the career path I should take. TRIP offered all three! I am hoping my experience at TRIP will let me figure out exactly what path I want to take. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and I cannot wait to see what the future brings!!
I discovered my love of science at a young age as I spent most of my time watching documentaries and the National Geographic channel. I completely fell in love with animals and nature - and that is something I truly will never outgrow. The more I learned about the environment the more I also learned about the slew of dangers posing a threat to our beautiful ecosystems. I became obsessed with learning all I could about our changing Earth. I desperately wanted to discover ways to reverse the changes that were occurring, yet I found very little was being done; therefore, I decided that I will one day pursue a career in Earth or animal science to keep nature safe. I first participated in Tech Trek, an all girls program offered at a number of different universities in which I chose to participate in the Environmental Science program. I then went on to become a part of ZooCrew at the Philadelphia Zoo so I could gain experience and learn all I could from the professionals there. Since I have had limited lab experience due to being online for my first two years of high school, I was more than excited to participate in this particular program. I have always had a passion for STEM and am eager to learn as much as I can! Teen Research Internship Program presented me with an opportunity to expand my knowledge and understand lab procedures before entering college which made this program stand out from all others.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you all my idea to study water quality in the school district’s effect on the gut microbiome. This project was inspired by the Flint Water Crisis as well as my own experiences in urban and suburban high schools. During my freshman year, I went to a suburban high school before transferring to Roxborough. Prior to my time at Haverford, my suburban school, I had only gone to intercity schools with limited funding so I knew about the extreme differences in funding well before reentering the school district. However, upon starting at Roxborough, I truly began to take note of the differences between the schools, including the difference in water taste and quality. At Haverford, it didn't matter what fountain you used, the water tasted the same. However, at Roxborough only the water coming from the filtration fountains tasted okay. Because of these differences and my love for bacteria and disease, I figured testing water quality through the gut microbiome was a great choice for my project.
TRIP was such an amazing experience and I had a blast meeting everyone! The lab was always buzzing (see what I did there?) and it was so fun to sort flies with everyone at the CO2 pads. A fair warning to everyone applying to TRIP: sorting flies will simultaneously be the best and worst experience you have in the lab.
After a bittersweet last day in the lab, my TRIP experience is near over. All the train rides, homework, calculations, and flies are behind me. However, all the knowledge that I have gained and relationships that I have made will never be lost. After the first week, where keeping on top of the homework was not my strong suit, I never thought that I would be able to finish anything in the intensive lab, but with the help of Dr. Leystra and Dr. Purdy, my experiment was a success! Let's take a look into exactly what was a success, what wasn’t, and how I learned from the amazing experience in the TRIP Lab.
My experiment was set up to answer the question, does omeprazole have any long term side effects? I take omeprazole to help treat my Eosinophilic Esophagitis, so I wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be any major unknown side effects. The Larval Locomotion with Methyl Blue assay was the perfect experiment to use to answer my question. How it works is on a 10 cm x 15 cm strip of thermal paper, I spread out five larvae and painted them with a 0.2% methyl blue dilution. The larvae would leave a trail on the paper showing exactly where they went over a 10 minute period. I then used a software to measure out the distance and used the average distance traveled per condition to determine whether or not the larvae were healthy. I used a control condition, and then by using 2 solutions, I made the equivalent to 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg, and 120 mg of omeprazole for flies and put it into their food. The question was successful overall, and depending on how you look at it not so good news - The higher the dose the larvae were given, the less average distance they traveled.
And so now, at the end of it all, what have I learned? To be honest, I will have to see what I learned when I get thrown into another lab experience. Testing my skills such as pipetting, calculations, communications, and clarity, are all going to be important, and that's not to mention getting to the lab on time, having all my work done for the day, finding time to eat and drink, which are all just as important. But there is no doubt in my mind that TRIP has better prepared me for any science lab that I will see in the future. If I could say one thing to my week one self, I would tell him to put his head down and get to work, because TRIP is not a cakewalk.